Q & A: Meet Stephen Sisk, LiquidPlanner’s Software Engineer

Team LiquidPlanner | May 28, 2013

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Behind the magic curtain of LiquidPlanner sits our fantastic dev team. Stephen Sisk just joined this wonderful group and sat down with us to answer some questions. Read on to see what Stephen is reading, his favorite place to vacation and his favorite LP feature.

Title and description of what you do
Software Engineer – I help build LiquidPlanner. I’m a full stack developer, but my focus these days is on building simple and usable software that helps users solve complex problems. Stephen

What was it that made you know LP was the perfect fit for you?
I wanted to use LiquidPlanner myself. As I was watching the demo the first time, I kept thinking of all the ways it would have helped on my last project. I’m also excited to see how the product develops as we continue to scale – LiquidPlanner is in the nice position of having a great customer base while still having lots of interesting problems to solve.

Do you have a ritual or routine to the start of your work day?
I’m a tea drinker, so getting a fresh cup is an important first step. Then I like to make sure to figure out what I want to get done that day, before I open up email (or LiquidPlanner!) and get distracted by my inbox. That helps me focus on the important things I need to get done before I get swept up in the urgent things of the day.

A favorite vacation spot, and why?
My girlfriend and I just went to Thailand – we love Chiang Mai and the Krabi area. Everyone is very friendly, making it a great introduction to the culture of Southeast Asia. The fact that it’s absolutely gorgeous and has great food doesn’t hurt.

What are you reading now?
Apollo – The Race to the Moon, by Charles Murray & Catherine Bly Cox. It’s a unique book in that it’s a history of how Apollo and the space program evolved, but from the perspective of the engineering teams. The Apollo program faced challenges that a lot of young companies also face like the need to grow the team quickly, and working on problems you’re not even sure can be solved. They also faced problems unique to large organizations like getting many large organizations to coordinate to solve big problems. The book does a good job in talking about how they worked through these issues.

The one downside is that the book is rather dry – it really makes me appreciate Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars, which is another great book about the space program. Mary Roach is great at taking scientific topics and making them very readable. In this book she discusses the challenges of long-term space flight (i.e., how do you pack away enough food for people to eat for three years straight and make it interesting enough that they’ll actually want to eat it?). Together, the two books provide a good look at the details of how humanity got into space and what we’ll need to do to continue exploring space.

What’s your favorite lunch?
This is a question near and dear to my heart. In Seattle overall, the clear winner is Salumi, an amazing sandwich place created by the family of Mario Batali. However, from the LiquidPlanner offices to Pioneer Square is a trek (and there’s usually a line), so closer to home base I prefer Ro Ro’s Barbecue. They cook some delicious meats and have a variety of tasty sauces. Jason, our CTO, is a big fan of Pecos Pit (another famous Seattle barbecue) so we’re going to try that out as well and compare notes. 🙂

Favorite or most-used LP feature?
Ranged Estimates – I was introduced to ranged estimates a couple years ago at a dev conference, and ever since then, I’ve been using them in my estimates. However, I’ve always had to translate them back into a single number (which oh-so-definitely defeats the purpose). It’s nice to finally use a system that supports them.